Cassandra sat up, chains weighing heavily on her wrists. Her little prison was dark and cold, the only light coming from a single lantern rocking on a peg across from her. She frowned. The lantern was moving much too quickly.
The ship lurched.
Cassandra was thrown against the wall, but her restraints kept her from going far. Timber groaned as waves crashed against the side of the ship. Sailors' frightened shouts were drowned out by roaring thunder. She didn't understand. The sea had been calm moments ago and yet it felt like they were being swept up in a maelstrom.
Another crash of waves sent the lantern flying off of the peg. It shattered, spilling whale oil and fire across the wood. The hungry flames devoured the liquid and started to spread across the hull of the ship.
Cassandra scrambled away from it. "Help! Help!" she screamed. She doubted anyone would come for her, though.
She was just a stowaway.
The fire grew brighter and began to fill the room with smoke. She coughed and jerked as hard as she could against her manacles. It was no use. Crackling flames crawled closer and closer to her feet. She pulled her knees up to her chest and said a prayer to the sea goddess Calypso.
Suddenly, the timbers gave a death moan. Wood fractured and bent. Water gushed through the ship's mortal wound and snuffed out the fire before it started to fill the hull.
Cassandra cried out and renewed her struggles, even as the water went past her hips, her chest, and finally her head. The suction yanked her towards the gaping hole. Only the chains kept her from being thrown out to the ocean. But what good was that when she couldn't breathe?
Someone...help, she begged.
Her lungs screamed for air. She held her breath as long as she could until her lips parted and drank in the salty ocean.
Something moved out of the corner of her eye. The last thing she saw was a pale white hand reaching for her black bound wrist.
YOU ARE READING
After Cassandra stows away on a doomed ship to escape an abusive husband, she's swept up into a watery adventure. She's rescued by an ethereal creature from the ocean, a mermaid named Nimue. As Nimue nurses Cassandra back to health, their hearts be...